The Downtown Report: January 2021 Edition

Welcome to Fullerton

Got a near panic alert that “Our taxes are being spent on a mural when they should be spent on fixing our potholes!” Of course, we all want our streets to be repaired. This new mural right next to railroad tracks is on the side of the new Amplifi apartments on Commonwealth. No worries, it’s not funded by the city of Fullerton, and looks welcoming for sure. We’ll get another photo once it is completed.

Season of Giving

Kids Can Cosplay volunteers showed up in costume to entertain the kids.

Another tip sent me cruising around looking for some interesting characters in costume. Turned out to be a nice gesture by Garcia’s Cantina and Grill at 136 W Commonwealth, as they invited the public to come down for free photos with Santa, free food and toys. They ended up treating 1200 kids to the goodies. Wow! An update from our last issue—just down the road from there, Bootleggers offered a free meal to anyone who was furloughed due to the pandemic, and the offer included their family members. They got a huge response as well, and over 600 free meals have been served so far, with over 1200 sponsored so the free food offer continues.

Looking “Back” at 2021…a Prophecy

And now, a look “back” at 2021 in our downtown, which had lost the better part of the previous year of 2020.

In the first quarter, a nightmare was disappearing, very slowly at first, then we all noticed it fading, morphing into something unlike a dream, but something even better—normalcy.  Life was stressful, but as more and more of us received the vaccine, the days got longer, the sunsets more colorful, the skies bluer, the landscape greener, the prospects brighter.  March in particular was a turning point as more of us grew very weary of blaming one group or another, and all of a sudden, the ‘United’ States reappeared and as the air warmed, we warmed up to each other. We were not members of a party or an ideology any longer, we were survivors.

In the second quarter, downtown became a place we could go and actually sit near each other to shop, eat, have a drink, explore some new restaurants and shops that we were all grateful to see buzzing with activity. No, it was not really ‘normal’ yet, precautions were still the rule and not the exception, but it was working! Our economy showed signs of a rebirth, but not yet for all.

Summer blazed and everyone downtown welcomed it. Outdoor dining was still a thing with shade suddenly a most valuable asset for all of our restaurants. Many  preferred dining al fresco by now so it was not as difficult to keep indoor dining manageable. Could this really be happening? The Thursday Market was more popular than ever; sidewalks were filled with smiling pedestrians. Hillcrest Park was the go-to spot for groups to gather and reconnect. Could it be?

Kids sliding down the bowl at Hillcrest Park.

As fall and the wicked Santa Ana winds descended, we all resolved to stick to the plan so the devil COVID could be held at bay, if not completely defeated. By now, most realized their sacrifices had a very positive effect, and none of us wanted to return to anything resembling 2020. Knowing the virus was close to being contained meant we could all likely have an actual Thanksgiving, Holiday Season, and a Happy New Year. That would be welcome news for all of us.

You can fill in your fantasy winter. At this point, from what we hear, it actually might be all we have been hoping for. Hey, let’s carpool to the Lakers and Dodgers parades.

Photo Quiz

Look familiar? Where is this? Send your answer to Mike at